Great Horned Owls are Very Interesting

Did you know that the “ears” on a Great Horned Owl are not ears at all?  They are tufts of feathers call “plumicorns.”  These feather tufts help them blend in with their surroundings.

The Owl’s ears are actually on the sides of their heads behind and slightly below the eyes.  One ear is higher, and one is lower to aid in locating prey at night. It’s a complicated system, but basically they hear noise a fraction of a second faster in one ear than the other.  This helps them better locate their prey in the dark.

Speaking of eyes, did you know that Owls cannot move their eyes?  Instead, some Owls can rotate their head as much as 270 degrees to allow it to see in all directions.  However, a Great Horned Owl will rarely rotate more than 180 degrees. Their eyes are not “eyeballs” like a human’s eyes, but tube-shaped eyes that give them binocular vision.  They are farsighted–they cannot see close-up objects clearly.

Great Horned Owls usually find a nest that was built by another species.  They sometimes line the nest with bark, leaves and even their own feathers.  They will also nest in tree cavities, deserted buildings, and sometimes even the ground. They have one brood a season with 1-4 eggs laid. The babies are born helpless as little clumps of white, fluffy feathers. 

Great Horned Owl at Barr Lake State Park
Great Horned Owl at Barr Lake State Park

2 Comments on “Great Horned Owls are Very Interesting

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